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Farmington’s OneSource Water raises $10M

OneSource Water, LLC (Farmington, CT) has raised a total of $10 million in equity, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. The company aims to use the money for “infrastructure, acquisitions and its continued organic growth.” To date, OneSource Water has acquired bottleless water cooler distributors in Maryland, Ohio, Missouri, and Florida. What will OneSource’s organic growth mean for Connecticut?

Read Full Article in The Hartford Business

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Second Quarter 2014 Venture Capital Review

“Venture capitalists invested $13.0 billion in 1,114 deals in the second quarter of 2014, according to the MoneyTree™ Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), based on data provided by Thomson Reuters. Quarterly venture capital (VC) investment activity rose 34 percent in terms of dollars and 13 percent in the number of deals, compared to the first quarter when $9.7 billion was invested in 985 deals. The total dollars invested in Q2 2014 marks the largest quarterly investment total since $13.1 billion was invested in Q1 2001. VC investments for the first half of 2014 reached $22.7 billion, the highest first half total since 2001.”

Here are some highlights from the report, click the link below to read the full release.

  • In Connecticut, 19 companies received Q2 2014 over $119.7 million in funding during the second quarter of 2014. The number of deals has increased by approximately 73%, from the prior quarter, while overall funding has nearly tripled since Q2 of 2013 and the amount of deals has grown by 6%.
  • The software industry received the highest level of funding of all industries, increasing by 50 percent from the previous quarter, and reaching $6.1 billion.
  • The biotechnology industry was the second largest sector for dollars invested – $1.8 billion invested in to 122 deals, while this sector represented 53 percent of all funding in Connecticut during the second quarter with $63.4 million in funding across three deals.
  • Seed stage investments increased by approximately 46 percent in dollars and 20 percent in deals with a total of $189 million invested in 55 deals in the second quarter.*
  • Expansion stage dollars increased by 53 percent in the second quarter, with a total of $5.7 billion invested in 308 deals.
  • Investments in later stage deals increased by 25 percent in dollars ($3.2 billion), and a 19 percent increase in deals (totaling 229).
  • First time financing dollars (companies receiving venture capital for the first time) increased to $429 million, an approximately 86 percent increase in the second quarter.
  • First time financing deals acquired a total of $3.1 investment dollars by venture capital, while software industry deals captured 42 percent of the total first time financing/investment pool ($1.3 billion).
  • In Connecticut, the largest share of funds received during the second quarter of 2014 went to Early stage companies with 8 deals and nearly $60 million, representing 50% of total funding.

Read the full report from PricewaterhouseCoopers

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July 2014 | Software EdTech Recap

July’s Second Thursday event, Software and Educational Technology, met in Farmington at the UConn Health Center on July 10th. Just over 60 attendees, including early stage companies, service providers, and investors, made their way to UConn’s academic building. Five pitch presentations kicked off the evening at 5:00pm.

Pitch Highlights:

360Alumni – Presented by Christina Balotescu. 360Alumni aims to help colleges and universities repair broken relations between the institution and it’s alumni by “looking 360beyond fundraising goals and putting alumni first.” By keeping alumni connected and engaged, the institution benefits from an increase in donation size and frequency. According to Balotescu, the current constituent pyramid focuses largely on the top most engaged donors when it should focus equally on all donors no matter how engaged or generous they may be. 360Alumni offers a system that enables alumni to engage easily and effectively while encouraging the administration to connect with them regardless of the size of their pocketbook.

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Campuscene - Presented by Ryan Schwartz. Campuscene is a software that allows prospective students to connect and engage with an institution they would like to attend. This not only enables the student to make a more sound choice when selecting a university but also helps said university make better projection calls on which accepted applicants will actually attend. According to Schwartz, 85 percent of universities say that improving yield is of top priority, yield being the estimated attendance compared to accepted applicants. More than 30 institutions have witnessed the benefits of the Campuscene experience.

 

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Combat2Career - Presented by Charlotte Creech. Combat2Career is a software that aims to grow veteran enrollment through better veteran service. According to Creech over one million new veterans are expected to hit the college search this year, an estimated 10 billion potential dollars for academic institutions. The problem? Simply that veterans have a hard time figuring out which colleges and universities will accept their GI benefits and which will not. This results in a large sum of wasted GI benefits and potential tuition dollars. Combat2Career has developed a software that will allow veterans to calculate how their GI benefits will be used at a university; effectively allowing them to make the best choice as to which university to attend. Combat2Career bridges the gap between institutions recruiting vets and vets looking for the right institution. The goal is to help colleges and universities cash in on GI cash benefits while helping veterans find institutions that will best utilize their tuition dollars.

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Screen Mentor Inc. - Presented by Michael Rachkovsky. Screen Mentor’s advanced artificial intelligence technology, Intelligent Educational Suite, or IES for short, aims to facilitate a more engaging and productive learning environment. Some of the major components found in IES include the following: an intelligent tutor, parent support system, teacher support system, and school admin support system.

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Why Science - Presented by Yvonne Kielhorn. Why Science is geared toward helping teachers customize their lesson plans in a way that will better engage their students. The cloud-based, online platform allows teachers to streamline their educational programs and alter their lessons to better convey content. Why Science is more accessible, and affordable, than traditional tutoring and because it compliments the educators teaching style so nicely it has been successful in increasing student performance in school systems where it is implemented.

During the pitch presentations attendees were able to log on to TestMyPitch and give live feedback to the presenters. Following the five company pitches were two keynote presentations:

Keynote speaker – Jean Hammond of Learn Launch:

Keynoter Jean Hammond of Learn Launch used her presentation time to highlight the trends in investment opportunities. Changes in the education market are imperative, making the need for new innovations even more crucial. “There is a hunger for accountability and answers to the questions, ‘will high school students be prepared for college,’ and ‘will college grads get a good job?’ are being highly sought after,” said Hammond. In order to ensure that the answers are indeed “yes” schools are hard pressed to upgrade their facilities; a costly endeavor. Innovations that personalize the learning process, simplify lesson plan sharing, and aid educators in preparing students for the “next step,” are crucial in the educational industry. In fact, Hammond explained that a striking 92 percent of teachers have expressed a desire to use more edTech in their classrooms. “This is a segment where investment is happening,” said Hammond. “The educational market is bringing in more than $1.3 trillion dollars, a number that is only growing. The market size is large and the innovation opportunities are both incremental and disruptive.”

Keynote speaker – Christopher Curran of Education Growth Advisors:

Keynoter Chris Curran took the opportunity to address various trends in education leading with the simple fact that the number of enrolled students is down 2 percent when compared to 2011. In addition, 70 percent of educators believe that online education is an important part of the education strategy. Because institutions need help increasing yield and because there is such a strong focus on online education, the edTech industry is ripe for the picking. “This is why there are so many companies coming up through the investment food chain into education segments,” said Curran. Pressure on post-secondary institutions to be bigger and better has led institutions to be over spending. With that being said Curran explained that online courses reduce the cost of instruction by up to 20 percent. “Due to the most recent shift towards online education it is projected that 50 percent of all students by 2020 will either be fully enrolled in online courses or taking some type of online class,” said Curran.

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At the conclusion of the keynote presentations attendees made their way back into the networking space where hot pizza, plenty of veggies, chips and salsa awaited. While helping themselves to self serve wine and beer, attendees gathering around exhibitor posters and connected with pitch presenters. Networking lasted late into the evening and it was clear to all that the software edTech sector is alive and well.

Thank you again to our event chairs, Joe DeMartino and Matthew Monteith for helping us plan and execute a successful Second Thursday Presentation!

Congratulations to Alan Tan, winner of this month’s drawing of our Innovation Summit Ticket Giveaway! We hope you noticed the Innovation Summit Ticket Giveaway bucket at the event, drop your business card in the bucket and you could win two tickets to the Innovation Summit! We draw a winner after every Second Thursday Event! 

See you all at next months Summer Networking Party!

View Event Photos | Event Videos | Event Presentation

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Connecticut Takes Strong Investment Strides in Early 2014

 

Connecticut has made leaps and bounds in the ranking of venture capital dollars invested. Going from 19th in the third quarter of 2012 to an impressive 4th place in the first quarter of 2014. Which states out ranked Connecticut? California, Massachusetts, and Utah. The last time Connecticut ranked in the top percentile was 1985 – 2005. The recovery to our fourth place status is being credited to capital investments made in early stage companies by CI, CECD and local angels. It is expected  that Connecticut will hold it’s investment pace into the second, third and fourth quarter as more companies reach A round stage.

That’s not all, a sole Connecticut-based investor has made the Midas List of the top 100 tech investors in the world. Her name is Ann Lamont and she is a veteran investor who is no stranger to the Midas List. Ann has experience and expertise in the healthcare and financial services technology industries and joined Oak Investments in 1982. Congratulations Ann Lamont!

 

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Murphy Introduces Bipartisan Jobs Bill

Murphy Introduces Bipartisan Jobs Bill to Support Startups & Small Businesses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

WASHINGTON – June 19, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), as well as U.S. Congressmen Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) to introduce legislation that would remove burdensome restrictions from individuals who want to invest in startups. In order for a startup to secure capital to grow the business, entrepreneurs commonly attend “demo days,” which are conferences that allow startups to showcase their business model in front of valuable startup investors, such as “angel investors” – investors in startup companies – and venture capitalists. New Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations, initiated by the JOBS Act, have put angel investors participating in demo days at risk of being forced to turn over extensive personal financial details to an onerous new third-party vetting process. This invasion of privacy deters many investors from backing startups when they need support to grow their businesses the most.

The Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act would lift this burdensome restriction and instead preserve the same investor vetting process that angel investors have been using at demo days for years. By removing these restrictions, the HALOS Act will allow startups to continue to get the investments they need to grow the business and create jobs.

Startups are critical to the future of America’s economy. In 2010, companies in their first year created an average of 3 million jobs, and it is estimated that angel investors provide 90 percent of outside equity to help grow these young businesses. The HALOS Act would help angel investors support these companies and good, new jobs in thousands of new startups.

Murphy has held a series of roundtable discussions with entrepreneurs and angel investors throughout Connecticut to get their feedback on what support they need from the federal government to help create startup jobs. Most recently, he visited with entrepreneurs at Stamford Innovations and The Grove in New Haven. This legislation was developed with their feedback.

“We should be doing everything we can to support small businesses in this country, especially those with high-growth potential,” said Murphy. “I’ve traveled around Connecticut and have heard from investors and entrepreneurs alike that the most important thing we can do to create new startup jobs is to make it easier for angel investors to put capital behind these nascent companies. The bipartisan HALOS Act will allow angels to more easily invest in startups at a demo day, which is one of the best opportunities startups have to showcase their business. I urge my colleagues to back this jobs bill so that we can create better business opportunities in Connecticut and across the country.”

“With nearly 10 million Americans currently unemployed, we ought to be doing everything we can in Congress to enact policies that help create jobs,” said Thune. “Small businesses and startups are the backbone of our economy. The bipartisan HALOS Act continues in the spirit of the JOBS Act we signed into law in 2012 and will help entrepreneurs and investors continue to create small businesses and jobs throughout the country.”

“I started a chain of restaurants in Allentown in 1990 with two of my brothers,” said Toomey. “We used our own savings to fund the start-up costs and worked day and night and eventually created hundreds of jobs in the Allentown and Lancaster region. So I understand the unique struggles, uncertainties, and risks involved in starting one’s own business. We can make it easier to be innovative. I am pleased to join with Sens. Murphy, Thune, and Schatz, and our colleagues in the House to propose a bill that will make it easier for startups and angel investors to connect and work together to grow their businesses and hire more workers.”

“Hawai‘i’s unique location and creative environment make it an ideal place for tourism, defense, energy, and technology startups but, right now, unnecessary restrictions are holding back our startups,” Schatz said. “Our bill makes it easier for angel investors to fund Hawaii startups that help grow our local economy and create jobs.”

“One of our top priorities in Washington needs to be making it easier for entrepreneurs and small businesses to access the private capital they need to grow, innovate and create jobs,” said Chabot.  “The last thing we should do is place new roadblocks in the way of investors looking to provide much-needed capital to startups. Unfortunately, that is exactly what new rules from the SEC would do.  The HALOS Act is a bipartisan, bicameral effort to clarify these rules and preserve important forums like ‘demo days,’ so that our startup community can continue to showcase their ideas to key investors, investors to whom they may have little or no access otherwise.”

“As startup businesses look for capital, they frequently rely on demo and pitch days – events where entrepreneurs can introduce their business ideas to potential investors to raise capital,” Schneider said. “However, recent regulation has had the unintended effect of preventing startups from participating in these important events. The HALOS Act helps fix this problem, allowing entrepreneurs and investors to connect more easily while still preserving crucial investor protections.”

The Angel Capital Association said, “Thank you to the cosponsors for their work on the HALOS bill.  Demo days are important not only for accredited investors and entrepreneurs to connect, but they also help educate entrepreneurs and students on how to start and fund their businesses and they are critical to economic development initiatives across the country.  Angel Capital Association member angels join venture capitalists and other experts in mentoring the startups that participate in university business plan competitions, statewide innovation forums and other demo days.  Continuing these events without additional red tape is important to job creation and innovation in the U.S.”

To read more about the HALOS Act, click here.

 

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Angel Investor Forum Meeting in Stamford July 1st

Connecticut’s Angel Investor Forum will once again be holding a meeting in Stamford at The Soundview Club, located on the 16th floor of the Marriott downtown.

Guests are welcome, but in order to attend you must be an accredited investor per SEC standards.  The cost is $30.

When: July 1 | 11:30am
Where: The Soundview Club | Marriott Hotel | Stamford
Cost: $30

The presenting companies will be:

Covalent Coating Technologies, East Hartford, CT

360Alumni, Stamford, CT

RSVP

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Global Software Trends – PwC Report

According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers focused on the global growth of the 100 top software leaders, trends in software technology are leading the industry toward apps and services. Capture

“Driven by new consumption models, tech companies can no longer afford to focus on only one segment such as software or hardware or services. As a result, software companies are transforming from delivering complex products to easier to use applications which can be deployed on premise or offered as a service in the cloud.”

These trends, which have been accelerating over the last two years are affecting the demographics of the global software leaders. Regardless of any such change, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and SAP continue to dominate the list in terms of total software revenues.

Click here to view the full report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

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Priceline Announces Opentable Acquisition for $2.6 Billion Cash

NEW YORK (The Street) – Priceline announced Friday morning that it’s going to acquire Opentable for $103 per share, paying a total of $2.6 billion in cash.

For Priceline, Opentable provides “a natural extension into restaurant marketing services and a wonderful and highly valued booking experience for our global customers,” said Darren Huston, the president and CEO of Priceline, in the release.

Priceline helps find the best prices when booking planes, hotels, cruises, cars, and vacation packages. Priceline acquired Kayak, another travel booking website, in 2012. San Francisco-based Opentable company allows users to make restaurant reservations online.

Capital Group Companies owns 13.98% of Opentable shares, T. Rowe Price owns 9.11%, while investment firm Blackrock owns 8.86%.

Shares of Opentable closed at $70.43 yesterday, but were trading above the $103 offer price, trading at $103.69. Shares of Priceline were trading at $1,233.00 in early Friday trading. –Written by Whalen MacHale in New York

Read the story on The Street

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June 2014 | Clean Tech & Advanced Manufacturing Recap

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With two featured panels and a facility tour from our hosts at Proton OnSite, June’s Second Thursday event was a highly anticipated one. Attendees arrived early to catch the tour of Proton, network with other attendees, mingle around the poster exhibits, and enjoy fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, and other hors d’oeuvres before the event. At 5:00pm three Clean Tech companies delivered there pitches to kick off the 2014 June Second Thursday program.

Pitch Highlights:

ActualFoodPresented by Alexandra Beautyman, ActualFood’s mission is to make healthy, sustainable food available to everyone, everywhere. As an innovative replacement to 14412685335_f73423fb64_bgrocery shopping, ActualFood would allow customers to shop for healthy only foods online and then pick them up, same day, at a location near them. Said location could be their work parking lot, their kids school, at an organization they volunteer at, or simply somewhere along their commute. The goal is two-fold, first to eliminate “big city food deserts,” by providing healthy food to everyone, everywhere, and second to eliminate the hassle that is grocery shopping. ActualFood is in the late R&D stage and recently made its first alpha deliveries, but when they reach full capacity they will offer free, same-day delivery to free standing hubs near it’s customers.  ”The food industry is ripe for innovation,” – Alexandra Beautyman.

KnipBio – Presented by Larry Feinberg, KnipBio is a Boston based biotech company that supplies superior nutrition for farm raised fish. “Last year we raised more fish on farms than cattle,” said Larry Feinberg, “A problem since a majority of these fish are being fed nutritionally empty foods like soy beans.” What KnipBio has found is that the pink bacteria responsible for healthy digestion and nutrition absorption, also the bacteria responsible for making flamingos pink, can boost the overall health of the fish that consume it. Knip is “pink” spelled backwards.

Agrivolution - Presented by Richard Fu, Agrivolution aims to take urban vertical farming to the next level. Did you know that 98 percent of greens found in CT grocery stores actually come from either California or Arizona? With droughts and forest fires ripping through the west coast it’s only a matter of time before our fruits and veggies become scarce or more expensive. By cultivating foods locally in hydroponic, indoor farms, we can save precious acreage and protect crops from inclement weather and damaging pests. In fact, a farm operating on just over an acre of land could just as easily grow the same volume of food in a 2,000 square foot vertical farming facility.

Two panel presentations followed the pitchers, one on agricultural technology and the other on hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

 

Agricultural Technology Panel – The panel focused on the importance of sustainability in AdTech and bio-gas. An important issue in the state of Connecticut because efficient heating is incredibly desirable. Also discussed was the use of climate change analytics to predict weather and crop conditions for use as a prescription for agricultural growers. Another point made was the fact that 70% of available fresh water is used in agriculture, that being said, the efficiency and innovation of agricultural technology isn’t just important, it’s crucial and inevitable. The panel agreed that hydroponic and vertical farming could be ideal as we look to decrease land waste and strive for more controlled growing environments.

Agricultural Tech Panelists:

    • W. Blake Sturcke, Founder & EVP, Turning Earth LLC
    • Lance Donny, Founder & CEO, OnFarm Systems
    • Gray Peckham, Director of Investments, Sustainable America

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Panel – The panel agreed that although hydrogen fuel cells are becoming more commercialized, the technology is still too new to tell if it will be a blinding success in the commercial sector. The panelists noted that one of the big opportunities includes the fact thatClean Tech Agriculture electrolysis fuel cells can perform more  than one function and can be used in recycling opportunities – a billion dollar industry. Currently there has been a swing toward hydrogen fuel cells from companies like Walmart as well as in the fork lift market and in the stationary fuel cell sector. Although there are big opportunities in the fuel cell industry it’s still riddled with challenges. “This country is wedded and fixated on battery’s which is why electrolysis isn’t very big here – it does better abroad where the people are more open minded to the value of the technology.” Currently Toyota and Hyundai are early adapters of fuel cell powered vehicles and have their first fuel celled powered cars scheduled to come out sometimes next year. Panelists agreed that fuel celled vehicles have the potential to become very successful because fuel cell powered vehicles don’t run like battery operated ones. “There is absolutely no difference between how a gas powered car and a fuel cell powered car drives or performs –  the consumer is going to like that.”

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Panelists:

    • Robert J. Friedland, President & CEO, Proton OnSite
    • Alexandra Lieberman, Senior Manager, CT’s Green Bank
    • Trent Molter, President & CEO, Sustainable Innovations

for recap

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported this event. We would like to give a special shout out to our host, Proton OnSite, for providing the space and giving attendees a tour of the facility. Join us next month for another great panel discussion and networking event: Software and Ed Tech on Thursday, July 10.

Thank you to our event chairs: Gregg Lallier & Konstantine Drakonakis

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Financing a Woman-Owned, Early Stage Business

An evening with Liddy Karter BC ’80 Managing Director, Enhanced Capital Partners, Angel Investor and Serial Entrepreneur.

Liddy will share her insights on the funding process and offer advice on how to strengthen your business and succeed in your financing goals.Liddy

When: Monday, June 16 | 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Where: Barnard College | 2009 Broadway, Sulzberger Parlor, Barnard Hall New York NY 10027

About Liddy Karter

Liddy Karter is Managing Director of Enhanced Capital, llc, Enhanced Capital invests in middle market companies in all sectors across the US. Liddy is also Executive Director of the Crossroads Venture Group. CVG is the CT Based trade association for venture capital funds. Previously Liddy has had positions in other venture and angel investment organizations. She also was CFO of Netkey, Inc., CEO of Resource Recovery Systems, and Vice President in Financial Services investment banking group at Morgan Stanley and Co. Inc.
Liddy received her MBA from Yale University and a BA from Barnard College.

 

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